It’s that time of year again where I look at my extensive Excel spreadsheet and report some stats on my writing year. I’ve been doing this for the past couple years and find it pretty interesting.
So, the basic numbers first:
- Submissions/pitches: Looks like I submitted or pitched 85 times (some of these are the same piece going out to more than one market). It looks like I pitched 51 different markets total, which seems like a lot.
- Assigned pieces: 4
- Rejections: 46 (23 actual rejections, 23 I never heard back on, so they are assumed rejections)
- Random misc: 5 (bounced, or expired in a pitching system)
- Pitches still out in limbo: 7
- Acceptances: 23. 13 were humor pieces, 7 were travel pieces, and 3 were misc. other things.
- Pieces actually published during 2018: 18 (5 are accepted but haven’t run yet, and 1 or 2 of those may go up before the end of 2018. Also, one I’m also pretty sure I’m being ghosted on which is completely frustrating and confusing, but I’m hoping I can re-sell it next year around the holidays if it doesn’t go up this year).
So overall, I’m pretty happy with how things went. According to last year’s roundup, it looks like I submitted 92 times and had 29 acceptances, so my acceptance rate was 31%. My acceptance rate this year was 28% if you count the misc. random bounces/expired pitches that probably weren’t really seen, but it was 30% if you take those out, but I think that’s just the general area I’m hovering at. I think I could probably bump it up if I were submitting more to markets where my chances of an acceptance are higher (or maybe not casting such a wide net to different markets), but why do that when I can rack up more rejections?
I had some pretty big wins this year:
- I signed with an agent (more on this here).
- I had a humor piece published in Real Simple print. A magazine I had been submitting to for a long while. That piece was technically accepted in 2017, but actually ran in 2018, so I’m going to count the win this year.
- I had a humor piece in New Yorker Daily Shouts, a market I had been submitting to for a very long while.
- InTouch Weekly actually picked up one of my tweets and printed in their magazine right there next to the important celebrity gossip pieces. So that was pretty bonkers.
- I had four pieces run on McSweeney’s this year. My acceptance to rejection ratio was much higher there this year than previous years, but I have no confidence that it will continue like that into next year.
Of course, I also had some losses:
- After the accepted piece, my next few submissions to New Yorker Shouts have been rejected
- All my pitches/submissions to the New York Times continue to be rejected
- I spent too much time obsessing over other writers’ wins at times. I know that the writer jealousy thing is not super healthy so I will try to be better about it next year, but I can’t really make any promises.
In terms of how I met my goals last year:
- Book Proposal: I did finish my book proposal and signed with an agent. I’m now continuing to work on building my platform before the proposal goes out on submission and am also talking with my agent about some other project ideas, which I’m kind of excited about. I’m hoping some of these will be in good enough shape to go out on submission next year.
- Goal pubs I wanted to submit to in 2018: I did manage to submit to NYT and New Yorker Shouts, but did not submit to NY magazine. You’d think I would take that off the goal list for 2019, but I actually have a couple ideas I think are plausible to pitch to The Cut. So, I am putting them on the goal pitch list for 2019.
- Illustrated stuff: I keep wanting to figure out how to do some illustrated humor pieces and failing, so my new goal is to partner with an illustrator on a humor piece at some point in the new year. Hopefully that will be more plausible to accomplish.
Goals for 2019:
- I’m going to aim for getting 75 submissions/pitches out.
- Goal pubs to pitch to: NYT, New York Magazine, An In-Flight magazine, and National Geographic.
- I am generally pretty happy to do solitary stuff (in writing and other things in life), but I have recently wanted to try co-writing some pieces to do something more collaborative. So I’d like to try co-writing some pieces and perhaps collaborating with an illustrator on something else. I’ve been talking to a writer friend about possible co-writing ideas, so that goal seems off to a good start.
I also have a lot of half-written humor pieces and ideas for other pitches that I hope to get somewhat into shape in the new year. So, now I just need to sit down and focus on getting the writing done!
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